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The Land Of Women

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Chapter Summary

To Chinese anthropologists adhering to the tradition of social evolutionism, the kinship system (descent and inheritance) of the matrilineal Mosuo presents an archaic form of social organization. The Land of Women has an intriguing past that tells us that what Mosuo society has become today is an outcome of interaction with a combination of forces pushing for change. The Mosuo living in Yongning today are differentiated in terms of language, kinship system, religion, and livelihood from the Naxi in Lijiang on the other side of the river. Yet, they are both of the same stock as the Wu Man, descendants of the Tibeto-Burman Di-Qiang, inhibiting the valleys of the Min, Dadu, and Jinsha rivers. Sexual relations revolving around women, material wealth (food and clothes) controlled by women, and the rearing of children assigned to women, are evidently the key factors that give shape to the women-centered society.

Keywords: Chinese; Land of Women; matrilineal descent system; Mosuo society



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